Academic Regulations

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General Rules

1. No credit is given for work done in absentia. However, with the prior approval of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity, a student may take a limited number of course hours at another ABA approved law school and receive credit toward graduation from the School of Law. A student will only receive credit for courses approved by the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management and in which a grade of C or higher is earned. The grades received at another law school will not be included in the law school grade point calculation or towards graduation honors.

2. Unless explicitly authorized by the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management, (a) no full-time student will be permitted to register for more than 16 credit hours per semester (8 credit hours in the summer term), and (b) no part-time student will be permitted to register for more than 12 credit hours per semester (6 credit hours in the summer term). With permission of the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management, a full-time student may register for a maximum of 18 credit hours and a part-time student may register for a maximum of 13 credit hours. As used in this section, “credit hours” includes all classes the student takes at the University of Louisville, regardless of whether the credit will be applied toward the student’s degree. Skills competitions and journal credit also count as hours in this calculation.

3. After the first year, any student enrolled must take a minimum of six credit hours per semester. Any student enrolled in more than thirteen (13) credit hours in any semester shall be considered a full-time student.

4. Students enrolled in the School of Law are not permitted to enroll in any other college or school of this University or in any other institution of learning without the consent of the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management.

5. All beginning students, both full- and part-time, must take the complement of first-year courses prescribed by the faculty, as set out in Chapter 3, Part C.

6. No credit will be given toward a JD degree for coursework completed prior to matriculating to law school.


Good Standing and Probation

1. Any student whose cumulative grade point average at the end of any semester is 2.0 or better on a 4- point scale shall be in good standing.

2. Any student whose cumulative grade point average at the end of any semester is less than 2.0 shall be placed on probation for one semester, the “probation semester.” A student on probation is not in good standing.

3. A student placed on probation as a result of prior grades may attend summer school immediately after being placed on probation, but that summer semester is not the equivalent of the “probation semester.” Grades earned during that summer semester while on probation are part of the student’s cumulative GPA.

4. A student placed on probation will meet with the Director of Academic Success & Bar Prep prior to resuming law school classes.

5. Any student on probation shall register for a full load of classes as defined by the rules of the School of Law. Ordinarily, a student on probation may not enroll in a seminar, independent study, or live client course.

6. A student on probation is subject to the Academic Advising and Course Enrollment conditions listed in Part D of this Chapter.

7. A first-year student on probation is also subject to the Academic Advising and Legal Methods Program conditions in Part E of this Chapter.

8. Students who are not in good academic standing shall not hold any elected or appointed office in an student organization, including the Student Bar Association and Honor Council. If such a position is already held by a student when his or her cumulative grade point average drops below a 2.0, the student shall resign such position(s) immediately.


Dismissal and Reinstatement

1. Any student on probation who fails to register or withdraws without a leave of absence shall be dismissed from the School of Law.

2. Any student on probation who does not remove the quality-point deficiency in the probation semester shall be dismissed with the right to petition for reinstatement and second probation semester.

3. A student academically dismissed from the law school will receive notice and a copy of the Procedural Rules for Reinstatement after Dismissal with detailed information as to the form and timing of a petition for reinstatement. A copy of these Rules is available in the Academic Success Office.

4. The Reinstatement and Probation Committee has jurisdiction and final authority over all reinstatement matters. The Committee is authorized to grant or deny relief incident to reinstatement, including extension of time to complete studies for the JD degree.  The decision of that Committee shall be final.

5. A successful petition for reinstatement must present clear and convincing evidence of a compelling reason for the grade deficiency and the difficulty which led to dismissal no longer exists. Student dismissed will not ordinarily be reinstated.

6. If the Reinstatement and Probation Committee finds a compelling reason to justify reinstatement, it may grant the petition and set any conditions to reinstatement deemed appropriate, except a student shall not be allowed more than two additional probation semesters to remove any grade point deficiency.

7. An expedited hearing before the Reinstatement and Probation Committee will be granted to a dismissed student who was placed on probation at the end of his or her first semester and earned a semester grade point average of 2.0 or greater during the probation semester.

8. A student who is granted a second semester of probation but does not remove the quality point deficiency in the probation semester(s) shall be ineligible for reinstatement.

9. In extraordinary circumstances, the Committee may grant academic bankruptcy for one semester to any first-year student dismissed at the end of his or her first year. The Committee shall not have the power to change or eliminate grades. A student granted academic bankruptcy is thereafter ineligible to petition for an additional semester of probation if a cumulative 2.0 grade average is not achieved.


Criteria and Conditions for Required Academic Advising and Course Enrollment

The following advising and course enrollment conditions apply to students with a cumulative grade point average below a 2.5, or who fall within the bottom quartile of their class as designated by the Director of Academic Success & Bar Prep at the end their first year of law study.

The Academic Advising Program provides guidance and support to students who may be at-risk for the bar exam.  The program will with the goal of increasing success on the bar exam.

A student placed in the Academic Advising Program will continue in the program for the remaining semesters of law study. A student may petition the Director of Academic Success & Bar Prep for removal from the Advising Program if he or she achieves a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.

A.  Course Enrollment. In each semester that a student meets the advising criteria above, the student is restricted in his/her course enrollment for the next semester as follows:

  1. Students taking 10 or more credit hours must register for a minimum of two core courses.
  2. Students taking fewer than 10 credit hours must register for a minimum of one core course.

Core courses include: Business Organizations; Criminal Procedure: Constitutional Issues; Criminal Procedure: Judicial Process; Decedents Estates & Trusts; Evidence; Family Law; Secured Transactions; or other approved state bar course.

B.  Program Requirements: The Academic Advising Program includes a combination of one-on-one advising and program attendance to boost the legal study skills necessary for success on the bar exam. The Advising Program is structured to address changing student needs in each semester of the student's law school career. The meeting requirements for each semester can be found on the Brandeis Intranet Student Page, under Academic Success and will be provided by e-mail to each student in the Academic Advising Program.

In a student's first semester as part of the Academic Advising Program, he or she will be assigned an adviser by the Director of Academic Success and Bar Prep.  Students will work with this adviser throughout the remainder of their law studies to develop an individualized academic achievement and bar exam success plan. Advising students will also attend designated Academic Success workshops and programs that address bar preparation skills, and will enroll in the Brandeis Bar Skills course in their final spring semester.

C.  Failure of a student to comply with any of the conditions will result in a notation made in the student's record and a registration hold will be placed on the student's account until conditions are met.


First Year Academic Advising and Legal Methods Program

Students whose class rank falls within the bottom quartile at the end of the first semester of their first year will be required to complete a self-assessment and meet with the Director of Academic Success & Bar Prep to discuss academic goals and strategies. Students will be encouraged to attend the Legal Methods Program in the second semester of first year.

Students whose cumulative grade point average falls below 2.5 at the end of the first semester of law school, as determined by the Director of Academic Success & Bar Prep, will be required to participate in the Legal Methods program in the second semester of their first year. Regular attendance and participation will be considered in decisions relating to academic standing.


Examinations

1. In order to receive credit in any course, the student must attain a grade not lower than "D-". Credit will not be given for any course unless the examination or other evaluative mechanism is passed. (Special rules apply to the writing requirement, the experiential learning requirement, pass/fail courses, courses taken at other law schools, and graduate courses taken in other units of the University).

2. Students are not permitted to take examinations in courses for which they have not registered.

3. Students may take exams only in authorized locations. That faculty policy regarding in-class examinations is as follows:

a.  In order to avoid any appearance of impropriety, all in-class exams, unless otherwise specified by the faculty teaching the class, must be taken in the classrooms of the School of Law or other specially designated computer rooms. A student who is taking an exam in an approved alternate location close the door.

b.  All other areas of the school, including but not limited to the library, student offices, restrooms, and faculty offices should not be used to take in-class exams. Under special circumstances, including without limitation accommodated exams, the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management may authorize a student to take an exam in an area not normally permitted.

4. If sickness or other adjudged good cause results in a student's failure to take the regularly scheduled examination in any subject, the student must contact the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management as soon as possible.  The Assistant Dean may authorize a make-up examination during the regularly scheduled exam period, or in exceptional circumstances, after the exam period.

All make-up exams and incomplete or deferred grades must be approved by the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management by the last day of class for the applicable semester, except when the basis for the request occurs later, e.g., illness on the day of the exam.

5. A student has an exam conflict and may reschedule an exam if he or she has more than one examination scheduled to begin within 12 hours of another exam, or if the student has an exam at 6:00 p.m. with another exam the next morning at 9:00 a.m. Three exams in three days do not qualify as a conflict. In the event of an “exam conflict,” the student shall take the make-up at the next available make-up session that does not create another conflict. All rescheduled and make-up examinations must be approved by the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment  Management.

6. Make-up examinations must be scheduled after the regular examination date. In no event will a student be permitted to take a make-up examination prior to the regular examination time as reflected in the examination schedule. Because of our exam software license, the School of Law cannot guarantee students scheduling make-up exams which extend beyond the official examination period will be able to use computers to take those exams.  Please consult with the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management.


Completion of Graduation Requirements and Leaves of Absence

1. The maximum elapsed time permitted between first matriculation and graduation, including, but not limited to, any time spent on leave of absence, shall be eighty-four (84) months. A student who does not remain continuously enrolled, excluding summers, must obtain a leave of absence in order to return to the School of Law. The faculty of the School of Law reserves the right to change the schedule of classes, the program of instruction, the requirements for degrees, and any other similar rules or regulations.

2. Leaves of absences are granted for extraordinary circumstances and must be approved by the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management.

3. A student on probation who takes a leave of absence will remain on probation when he or she returns from leave.

4. The student taking leave must petition the Registrar’s Office for any tuition refund that requires an exception to the Tuition Reduction Deadline.

5. The student taking leave must understand the leave’s impact on loans, financial aid, and scholarships. For further information, the student is advised to consult the Financial Aid Office.

6. School of Law scholarships do not automatically renew for a student who takes a leave. In addition, in most instances, a student taking a leave must repay any scholarship money awarded by the Law School during the semester(s) in which the student is on leave. The student must submit a “Petition for Continuation of School of Law Scholarship” form no later than one week after approval of his or her leave of absence.


Period of Retention and Review of Examination Materials

Examination booklets and papers are retained by faculty for one (1) year. Students are encouraged to seek review of their examinations in a timely manner. No grade may be changed after the earlier of (a) one year after it is released, or (b) the JD degree has been posted on the student’s transcript, unless such change is the result of an Honor Code proceeding.


Student Records Policy

The School of Law maintains records on each student. These begin with the student’s application and supporting materials and also include the student’s transcript. Other documents relating to the student’s education here (e.g., letters of recommendation requested from a member of the faculty; records of disciplinary proceedings; notations of awards or commendations, etc.) may also be included. It is our policy to safeguard the privacy of these records in accordance with University regulations and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

Each year, the University provides an annual announcement to notify current students of their FERPA rights. The announcement is published in the Schedule of Courses, in The Cardinal, and on the University of Louisville’s FERPA Information website. This notice will explain the basis on which faculty and other law school personnel may seek and obtain access to student records.

Each Each semester, awards and other academic recognitions will be published within the Law School community. A student must complete a Request to Withhold Disclosure of Directory Information if he or she does not want any information published or released.

The School of Law encourages students to familiarize themselves with these policies. Also see Appendix 7.


Attendance and Classroom Performance

In accordance with ABA Standard 308(a), the right to take examinations, as well as the privilege of continuing as a student in the School of Law, is conditioned on regular attendance and satisfactory participation in class work.

1. Absence Limitation

With respect to any course, a student is allowed to miss up to the “Absence Limitation” for that course. The Absence Limitation shall mean 15% of the total minutes of instruction required for the credit amount of the course and is defined by the following table:

2. Year-long Courses

In year-long courses, each of the semesters of a course shall have its own Absence Limitation as defined above. Students may not “carry-over” unused absences to increase the Absence Limitation in the second semester of a year-long course.

3. Intensive Courses (anything less than the traditional 14-week semester)

A faculty member may designate a course as an “intensive course,” if that course has a limited number of class meetings or meets for less than the traditional 14 week semester. In a course so designated, there will ordinarily be no Absence Limitation. Students are expected to attend all class meetings in intensive courses. An absence or significant tardiness in an intensive class will result in the student being excluded from the course. Alternatively, a faculty member may designate a specific number of absences that are acceptable, using as a guide 15% of the total course minutes.

To obtain a waiver from this rule, a student must submit a petition to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity. The Assistant Dean will only grant the petition if:

A.  the petition shows an extraordinary and unavoidable circumstance, and

B.  the instructor believes that the amount of absence will not unreasonable alter the level of engagement expected of all students in the course.

4. Externships and Clinics

Regular and punctual attendance is also required in externship and clinical courses. Participation in an externship or clinical program is a professional commitment. All students are expected to adhere to a high standard of responsibility, competence, and dedication with regard to all work assigned.

5. Add/Drop Period

For elective courses, class meetings during the add/drop period shall be disregarded in determining whether a student has exceeded the Absence Limitation. This does not apply to required courses, summer session, or intensive courses.

6. Sanctions

Unsatisfactory attendance or unsatisfactory classroom performance may result in lowering of a final grade for the course, involuntary withdrawal from the course, failing the course, or other resolution.

7. Reporting Absences to the Instructor

Any absences within the Absence Limitation should be addressed consistent with the instructor’s policy. Any absences in excess of the Absence Limitation or any absences of more than three consecutive school days shall be reported to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity by the student as soon as practicable.

8. Reporting of Excess Absences

The instructor of a course shall notify the Assistant Dean when a student has been absent for more than the Absence Limitation, excluding any absences covered in Paragraphs 13 or 14 of this policy. The instructor’s communication to the Assistant Dean should include the dates or number of class absences. Once it is determined that the student is to be excluded from the course as per Paragraph 6, the Assistant Dean, in light of applicable circumstances, will consult with the reporting instructor. The Assistant Dean and instructor shall determine whether:

A.  to allow the student to withdraw from the course; or

B.  to exclude the student from the course and to award a grade of F for the course.

9. Absences Beyond the Absence Limitation

The Assistant Dean does not manage absences that fall within the Absence Limitation. However, the Assistant Dean, in consultation with the course instructor, may make a determination that, on account of extraordinary circumstances affecting an extended period of time, a student may be granted absences beyond the Absence Limitation. Such extraordinary circumstances must relate to health, bereavement, family, military, or significant personal issues. Additional absences will not be granted for vacations or on-going conflicts resulting from the student’s normal employment commitments. In addition, excusals will not be granted to relieve full-time students of the limitation on employment set by the law school.

The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity may not allow additional absences for more than one week’s worth of classes beyond the Absence Limitation or in circumstances where a student would miss more than 10 consecutive days of classes during a semester regardless of the circumstances. Students who have circumstances causing them to be absent for more than these specified periods shall consult with the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management regarding a Voluntary Leave of Absence or course withdrawal.

10. Faculty Responsibilities

Faculty must provide notice of the attendance policy in their syllabus. If the faculty policy deviates from the law school policy (by being more restrictive), the syllabus must note the differences. For example, faculty may allow opportunities to participate in events or do additional work to make up absences.

Faculty will take attendance and monitor absences. Individual faculty members may permit absences beyond the law school policy, in accordance with Paragraph 8, but only for compelling circumstances.

11. Student Responsibilities

Students are expected to keep a personal record of all absences. In courses where the instructor requires the students to sign an attendance sheet (or otherwise mark themselves as present), it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that this is done in a timely manner for each class. Students who mark or sign as present a classmate who is absent shall be subject to disciplinary action.

12. Tardiness and Early Departures

Excessive tardiness or early departures from class may result in exclusion from a course under this policy. Tardiness or early departures for normal and foreseeable commutes or work schedules are not considered extraordinary circumstances.

13. Religious Observances

Students who observe work-restricted religious holy days must be allowed to do so without jeopardizing their academic standing in any course. Faculty are obliged to accommodate students’ request(s) for adjustments in course work on the grounds of religious observance, provided that the student(s) make such request(s) in writing during the first two (2) weeks of term. See University Policy.

14. University Sanctioned Absences

There are no excused absences, except as provided by University policy. For information concerning excused absences for participation in University sanctioned events, see the University Classroom Policies.

15.  Rescheduled Classes

In a course where a professor cancels and reschedules more than one class, a student should not be counted as absent if he or she does not attend the rescheduled classes after the first one.

16. Questions

Questions about the general attendance policy above should be directed to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity. Questions about a specific class attendance policy should be directed to the instructor of the class.


University Policy on Work-Restricted Religious Holidays

Federal law and University policy prohibit discrimination on the basis of religious belief. Students who observe work-restricted religious holidays must be allowed to do so without jeopardizing their academic standing in any course.  Faculty are obliged to accommodate  students’ requests for adjustments in course work on the grounds of religious observance, provided that the students make requests in writing during the first two weeks of the term.  Deans and department chairs must investigate and resolve student complaints arising from alleged faculty failure to make reasonable accommodation under these guidelines. Note: A calendar of typical work-restricted holidays is available on the University’s Work Restricted Holy Day Policies and Calendar. Information about specific holidays is also available by phone from the Office of the Provost at 852-6153.


Outside Employment

The law school offers a rigorous program of legal education that prepares students, upon graduation, for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession. Achieving these objectives requires students to make a significant commitment of time to law school course work. For every credit hour earned, the law school expects students will devote at least three to four hours per week on course work (assuming the work is spread over a 14 week period). Devoting the expected hours to course work is integral to solid professional formation.

Students should not allow employment to undermine their professional formation. The following policies are designed to help students maintain an appropriate balance between course work and employment. Students who need financial assistance should seek a loan or a scholarship rather than impair the quality of their law school experience.

Section 1. 20-Hour Policy

It is the policy of the law school to prohibit a student from working for compensation in excess of twenty 20) hours per week during any week of a semester in which the student is participating in law school courses as a full-time student. A full-time student is a student enrolled in twelve (12) or more credit hours of courses at the University of Louisville (including all courses, regardless of whether the credit will be applied to the student’s law degree).

Section 2. First Year Students

Because the first year presents demands and methods of study which most first year students have not experienced, it is strongly recommended that first-year students not engage in outside employment. For those students who find it necessary to work, the part-time program has been provided. There the course load has been reduced in order to permit the students to divide their time between the study of law and their employment. Part-time students are encouraged to inform their employers of their class schedules and that they are obligated to attend law school classes during these times throughout the academic semester. Students occasionally will be required to attend other special classes, meetings, or programs and must be able to take off work or otherwise make arrangements to attend these functions.

Section 3. Upper Level Students

Because the first year presents demands and methods of study which most first year students have not experienced, it is strongly recommended that first-year students not engage in outside employment. For those students who find it necessary to work, the part-time program has been provided. There the course load has been reduced in order to permit the students to divide their time between the study of law and their employment. Part-time students are encouraged to inform their employers of their class schedules and that they are obligated to attend law school classes during these times throughout the academic semester. Students occasionally will be required to attend other special classes, meetings, or programs and must be able to take off work or otherwise make arrangements to attend these functions.

Section 4. Exceptions from the Policy

With the approval of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity, a student may request an exception to the 20-hour policy. On a case-by-case basis, the Assistant Dean will ordinarily consider the student’s grade point average, total credit hours being taken in a semester, the content of the hours, the type of work being performed and other variables. However, in no instance will the Assistant Dean approve a student to work more than thirty (30) hours per week while attending school full-time. A student needing to work more than 30 hours can switch to the part-time program, which does not limit hours of outside employment.

Section 5. Students on Probation

A student who is on academic probation must speak with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity prior to make any work commitments. A record of this conversation will be put in the student's record.

Section 6. Enforcement

Violations of the work and class hours limits, as set out in the above paragraphs, may result in adverse disciplinary action, reporting to the Character and Fitness Committee of the Board of Bar Examiners, or exclusion from school. All students are required to report their employment to the Student Records Office each semester. Also, if there are any changes to a student’s work scheduling during the semester, the student must report it immediately to the Student Records Office.


Grade Reports and Grading Scale

Reports showing the quantity and quality of work done during the semester are issued by the University Registrar's Office through ULink at the end of each semester. The unit of credit is the semester hour, which is given for one class hour per week for one semester. The following method of grading will be used for all courses:


Calculation of Grade Point Average

The grade point average (GPA) of a student will be calculated by dividing the number of quality points earned by the number of semester hours attempted for all courses in which he/she receives grades of "A", "A-", B+", "B", "B-", "C+", "C", "C-", "D+", "D", "D-", and "F". A student must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 in all courses taken to be in good standing.

  1. The law school faculty has adopted a policy whereby certain courses are available on a pass/fail basis only. They include externships, work done for the law journals, Extramural Advocacy Competitions, and other designated courses that do not lend themselves to traditional evaluation.
  2. In addition to the above, upper-level students may elect to take a seminar or independent study on a pass/fail basis with the permission of the instructor and the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management if there is substantial basis for assessing the student's performance. Students must obtain approval and register for pass/fail grading no later than the last day to add a class. Students may apply no more than two pass/fail seminars or independent studies under this subsection toward graduation.
  3. A grade of "C" (2.0) must be earned in order to receive a pass under either subsection 1 or 2.

 Incomplete Grades

All incomplete (I) grades will automatically convert to failing grades (F) unless the work in the course is completed and an actual grade is substituted within one year after the completion of the semester in which the course was taken.


Failure in a Required Course

A student receiving a failing grade (F) in a required course must repeat the course. The repetition of the course does not remove the prior grade from the student's academic record. Students who fail a first-year course must retake the course at its next offering.


Repeating a Failed Course

A student who has received a failing grade in a course may not register or be assigned to retake that course with the same professor. A student requesting an exemption from this rule must submit a written request to the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management showing compelling circumstances.

A student may not retake any course in which the student received a passing grade. Other than required courses, a student may elect to repeat a course in which he or she earned a failing grade (F). The repetition of the course does not remove the prior grade from the student's academic record.


Official Withdrawal Required

A student who leaves school without officially withdrawing will receive the grade(s) of F in his or her classes. To officially withdraw, the student should meet with the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management. A student who ceases to attend a class, but who does not officially withdraw from the class, will receive a grade of F.

The academic calendar each semester specifies a last day to withdraw from a class. Requests by upper-level students to withdraw after this date must be accompanied by a timely statement of compelling circumstances to justify why the student should be withdrawn rather than receive a failing grade. The Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management, in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs & Diversity, as well as appropriate faculty, shall determine whether to grant the request.


Auditing a Class

Section 1. Current Students

A current Brandeis Law student (or other UofL graduate or professional student) may audit a class under the following conditions:

  1. There is room in the class and no one is on the waiting list;
  2. The instructor agrees to let the student audit the class; and
  3. The total semester credit hours do not exceed 18 for full-time student or 12 for a part-time student when including the auditing credits.

A part-time student who is eligible to audit will have to pay the per-credit tuition rate for the audited credits up to a total of credit hours of 10. Once he or she has reached 10 credits, the full-time tuition rate is applied, rather than the per-credit tuition rate.

Auditing students are held to the same attendance rules as a graded course. The work and participation required by the auditing student will be determined by the instructor of the course.

Current students may not sit in a class without registering.

Section 2. Current Attorneys

Current attorneys may audit a class as a not-degree student under the following conditions:

  1. If there is room in the class after Brandeis Law students register;
  2. The instructor gives specific permission for the outside student to enroll;
  3. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs approves; and
  4. The outside student registers for the class and pays tuition at current rates.

Auditing attorneys are held to the same attendance rules as a graded course. The work and participation required by the auditing student will be determined by the instructor of the course.

Current attorneys may not sit in a class without registering.

Current attorneys should contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs if interested in auditing a course. They will have to make a formal application through the Law Admissions Office.


School of Law Academic Grievance Procedure

Introduction

The procedure is designed to provide fair means for dealing with a student’s complaints regarding a specific action or decision made by the law school administration, the faculty, or a faculty member. Any students who believe they have been treated unfairly, discriminated against, or have had their rights abridged may initiate a grievance. (Redbook, Article 6.8) A grievance filed under this Part is in addition to, and not in lieu of, a complaint involving an ABA standard filed under Part U.

There shall be a School of Law Student Academic Grievance Committee, hereinafter referred to as the Committee, which shall have the power to hear all grievances involving academic matters other than (a) substantive grade appeals and (b) matters falling within the jurisdiction of the Reinstatement and Probation Committee.  Academic matters are defined as those concerning instructional activities, research activities, activities closely related to either of these functions, or decisions involving instructions or affecting academic freedom. (Redbook, Article 6.8.3). The Committee may review allegations that a grade has resulted from an unfair procedure, but it shall not render a judgment contrary to that of the faculty member on the substantive merits of the grade. Where the dean agrees with a Committee determination that procedural irregularities have occurred, the dean shall consult with the faculty member involved and the Reinstatement and Probation Committee as to the grade to be recorded in the student’s official transcript.

To assist the student, a Student Grievance Officer shall be provided who is responsible for informing students of their rights and obligations under the grievance procedure and especially the deadlines that have been established. The Student Grievance Officer shall seek to resolve informally as many grievances as possible. (Redbook, Article 6.8.2). Students are encouraged to seek the assistance of the Student Grievance Officer at any stage of the grievance process. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs is the contact person in the law school.

School of Law Student Grievance Committee

The Committee shall be composed of five (5) members selected as follows: One (1) student selected by the Student Bar Association and four (4) faculty members appointed by the dean. The dean shall select the chair of the Committee. In a situation where the student member is involved in the grievance or removed because of challenge, the Student Bar Association shall appoint an alternate student member for that grievance. When a faculty member of the Committee is involved in the grievance or removed because of challenge, the dean shall appoint an alternate faculty member to serve on the Committee for that grievance.
 
Preliminary Steps
In pursuing a grievance concerning academic matters within the law school, a student shall follow this procedure:
 
  1. The student shall first discuss the grievance with the person or persons grieved against (hereinafter referred to as the respondent), and shall attempt to resolve it through informal discussion. This discussion should take place not later than thirty (30) days after the date on which the student first learned, or may reasonably have been expected to have learned, of the cause of the grievance.
  2. If there is no resolution, and if the grievance is not against the law school administration, the student shall discuss the grievance with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who shall attempt to mediate a resolution.
  3. If the student still has not been able to obtain a resolution, the student may request the Student Grievance Officer to attempt informal mediation of the grievance.
  4. If the grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved through the informal process, the student may submit a written statement of the grievance to the Committee through the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. This statement shall not be submitted later than one year after the date on which the student first learned, or may reasonably have been expected to have learned, of the cause of the grievance. The statement shall contain: (a) a brief narrative of the condition giving rise to the grievance; (b) a designation of the respondent; and (c) a statement of the remedy requested.

Committee Action

Upon receipt of a written statement of a grievance, the chair of the Committee shall:

  1. Consult with the student, the respondent, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and the Student Grievance Officer to obtain assurance that all steps of the informal process were completed and that the issues in the statement were discussed at all levels.
  2. Send a copy of the statement to the respondent and to all Committee members.
  3. Notify the grievant and the respondent of their right to make one (1) peremptory challenge to a Committee member and to challenge Committee members for cause. The Committee’s notice shall include: (a) the names of the Committee members; and (b) a request that any challenges be made promptly to expedite the grievance procedure.
  4. Call a meeting of the Committee to be held within twenty (20) days after receipt of the written statement to review and consider it and to decide whether the grievance states grounds sufficient to warrant a hearing.
  5. Notify the grievant and the respondent of the Committee's decision and its reasons therefore in writing.
  6. If a hearing is to be held, notify in writing all parties, and any witnesses, of the date, time, and place of the hearing.  The notice shall be sent at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing date.
  7. In its notice of hearing, request in writing from the grievant and the respondent any pertinent material that the Committee shall require for its review prior to the hearing. The respondent may submit to the Committee a written statement outlining issues from the respondent’s perspective. The statement and materials either party chooses to submit shall be submitted to the Committee not later than four (4) days prior to the hearing. Committee members shall make every effort to maintain confidentiality throughout the entire grievance process.

 Hearing and Reporting Process

All Committee hearings and reports thereon shall be conducted confidentially in the following manner:

  1. The grievant and the respondent must be present during the information-gathering portion of the hearing. Witnesses will be available and called when needed. The Committee may allow the presence of a secretary or technical assistant.
  2. All statements made during the information exchange phase of the hearing shall be tape-recorded (or video-taped).  This record shall be preserved in the University Archives for a minimum of five (5) years and shall be confidential.
  3. Any Committee member may question any of the participants at the hearing.
  4. The grievant shall be afforded the opportunity to present statements and to have witnesses testify before the Committee.
  5. The respondent shall have the opportunity to question the grievant and the grievant's witnesses about their statements.
  6. The respondent shall be afforded the opportunity to present statements and to have witnesses testify before the Committee.
  7. The grievant shall have the opportunity to question the respondent and the respondent's witnesses about their statements.
  8. After all information is exchanged, all persons, other than Committee members and the recording secretary, shall leave the committee room. The grievant, respondent, and witnesses shall continue to be available to the Committee should further information be needed.
  9. The Committee shall meet in closed session to decide upon its recommendations to the Dean. If the grievance directly involves the Dean, the report and recommendations of the Committee shall be referred for decision to the Provost.
  10. The Committee shall submit its report with recommendations and reasons therefore to the grievant, the respondent, and the Dean (or Provost).
  11. The student's grievance shall be included in the student's record.
  12. Until the grievance is resolved, the student may continue the student’s natural academic progression through the academic unit, subject to the requirements of Redbook, Article 6.6 (Academic Review, Advancement, Probation, and Dismissal of Students) and Article 6.7 (Nonacademic Disciplinary Procedures).
  13. The burden of proof shall be on the grievant. The grievant shall establish his right to relief by clear and convincing evidence.

Final Decision

The Dean (or Provost) shall approve or reject the Committee’s recommendations within twenty-eight (28) days after they are received. If the decision of the Dean (or Provost) is in accord with the Committee’s recommendations, the recommendations shall be implemented. If the decision is not in accord with the Committee’s recommendations, the Dean (or Provost) shall state the reasons for that decision, in writing, to all persons directly involved in the grievance and to the Committee. That decision shall be implemented after the time for appeal has elapsed.

Rehearing Before the Committee

Within 21 days after delivery of its report, the grievant or the respondent may petition the Committee to reconsider its report. The petition must be based upon evidence of misrepresentation of material facts or upon newly discovered evidence clearly not available at the original hearing.

Appeal to the University Student Grievance Committee

Any party to the grievance may appeal to the University Student Grievance Committee within 21 days from the date of the final decision of the Dean (or Provost) if the decision does not accord with the recommendations of the Committee. The appeal shall be in accordance with Articles 6.8.11, 6.8.12, and 6.8.14 of Redbook.


Policy on Student Complaints Implicating the Law School's Compliance with ABA Accreditation Standards

The University of Louisville's Brandeis School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. Law School students who are aware of a problem that directly implicates the Law School’s compliance with the ABA's Standards for Approval of Law Schools should direct their communication to the Dean of the Law School. All such communications must be in writing and must state with specificity both the ABA accreditation standard or standards at issue and the factual circumstances that suggest noncompliance.

At his or her discretion, the Dean may refer the matter to other personnel within the Law School or at the University of Louisville. Within 30 days of receiving a written communication, identifying a problem that directly implicates the Law School’s program of legal education and its compliance with the ABA's Standards for Approval of Law Schools, the Dean shall respond in writing to the student(s) who submitted the communication. That response may take the form of a request for further information enabling the Dean to address the Law School's compliance with the ABA standards at issue. In all events, the Dean's determination shall be final.

The Law School shall maintain a record of all communications received under this policy, including the resolution adopted by the Law School in response to those communications. This record shall be maintained throughout each period of accreditation by the American Bar Association.


Credit for Course Work at Another ABA Law School

Students may, with the advanced approval of the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management, earn a limited number of hours at another ABA accredited law school.  This may be done by visiting another school for one or two semester(s) or a summer term, or by participating in an approved international program.  Credit will be given only in courses approved by the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management and in which the student earns a grade of C or higher. Grades in these courses will not be counted in the student’s Brandeis grade point average or impact graduation honors. Special ABA restrictions apply to online courses. For details, consult the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management. Neither the course name nor the grade will be posted on the student’s official transcript. Note that transfer students must complete at least 30 of their last 36 credit hours at the University of Louisville.  See Chapter 2, Part A of this Handbook.


Seminar Rules

  1. Students having a 2.0 or better average and having completed at least 19 hours may register for seminars.
  2. No more than two seminars may be taken in any semester.
  3. All seminars have limited enrollment.
  4. Both part-time and full-time students are eligible to take seminars, subject to the above rules.

Independent Study Rules

  1. An Independent Study may be for one(1) or two (2) credit hours.
  2. With the permission of the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management and the supervising faculty member, a student may take an independent study on a pass/fail basis. Students may apply no more than two pass/fail independent studies or seminars toward graduation.A
  3. A “credit hour” is based on 50 minutes of in-class instruction and two hours of out-of-class work (See Chapter 2, Part A). This would require 42.5 hours of work over a fifteen week semester for a one credit hour independent study.
  4. Only students having a 2.0 or better average and at least 19 hours may register for an independent study.
  5. Students may apply no more than four (4) credit hours of independent studies toward graduation, unless the Assistant Dean grants a hardship exception.
  6. An independent study paper does not satisfy the perspective requirement, but may satisfy the writing requirement as outlined in Part E.
  7. All independent studies must be supervised by a full-time School of Law faculty. However, the faculty member does not have to be the sole supervisor.
  8. To enroll in an independent study, the student must submit to Student Records a completed Independent Study Form, which requires the supervising faculty member’s signature. This completed form must be submitted prior to the last day to add a class, so that the Assistant Dean may approve the Independent Study in time for the student to register.
  9. Students enrolled in an independent study will be required to keep track of time spent working on the assignment.

Journals

  1. Students may also earn credit for work in connection with one of the journals sponsored by the Law School. To be awarded academic credit, the student’s work must be of sufficient quality to merit a grade of “C” or better, as certified by the student’s faculty advisor for the course. The amount of credit for various activities and for publication is indicated on the course schedule.
  2. A student may not apply toward the JD degree more than 7 total hours of credit for journal activity.
  3. Students enrolled in a journal will be required to keep track of time spent working on the assignment.

Externship and Clinic Rules

  1. Students may take one externship per semester. A student may register for a second externship in the same semester if:
    1. the field placement supervisors confirm that concurrent enrollment will not create conflicts;
    2. the faculty supervisors and Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management approve;
    3. seats are available after the close of registration; and
    4. the student's Supreme Court Practice Certification can be completed in a timely manner.
  2. Students may not apply more than 12 hours of externship and Extramural Advocacy Competition (934)  credit toward the 90 hours necessary for graduation. (See Extramural Advocacy Rules below).
  3. All participants in the Law Clinic, the Entrepreneurship Clinic, and the Criminal Justice, Legal Aid, and Immigration Externships must be certified under the Kentucky Student Practice Rule and must have completed 60 hours. Applications for certification must be submitted by the deadline established by the Student Records Office. The instructor may refuse applications submitted after the deadline. All externships are pass/fail.
  4. Refer to the Law School's course catalog for externship and clinic prerequisites.
  5. Students earning credit through a judicial externship may not earn credit for a second semester judicial externship experience. Students earning credit through an externship other than a judicial externship may enroll in only one additional semester of externship work at the same placement site. Whenever a student enrolls for a second semester experience at the same placement site, the student, faculty, and field supervisor should consult about expectations to foster a meaningful learning experience.
  6. Students enrolled in an externship or clinic will be required to keep track of time spent working on the externship or in the clinic.

Extramural Advocacy Rules

Students may earn academic credit for participation in extramural advocacy competitions. Each competition must consist of a rigorous educational experience under the guidance and support of a qualified coach and/or faculty advisor which places emphasis on the development of professional legal skills.  In order to receive academic credit for extramural advocacy competitions, a student must participate in an adequate number of meetings and preparation sessions, and communicate regularly with the team coach and/or faculty advisor.

The coach and/or faculty advisor must provide the competitors with training in the skills that are the subject of the competition, multiple opportunities to practice those skills, and detailed, in-depth feedback. Such competitions must require that competitors apply and demonstrate specific professional legal skills, such as written and oral advocacy at appellate or trial levels, arbitration, negotiations, or client interviewing and counseling. So much as competition rules permit, students must perform under substantial, continuous supervision and instruction by (1) a full time School of Law faculty member or (2) an adjunct or other individual, appointed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, working with a full- time School of Law faculty member.

The faculty members and other instructors shall evaluate the students’ written and oral performances and determine the number of credits each student has earned.  Students may earn no more than two (2) hours credit for participation in a single competition and may apply no more than six (6) hours of Extramural Advocacy Competition (934) credit toward the ninety (90) hours necessary for graduation.

Students may receive credit for no more than one extramural advocacy per semester and ordinarily may participate in no more than one per semester. For a student to participate in more than one in the same semester, the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management, faculty members, and other instructors must first approve. First-year students are ineligible to participate, except to the extent of trying out for a team if the competition will take place during their second year. (See Externship Rules above for other limitations on credit).

Students enrolled in an extramural advocacy competition will be required to keep track of time spent working on the competition.


Law Study Abroad

General Rules

The faculty of the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law (the Law School) reaffirms that study of the legal systems and cultures of other countries enhances students’ legal education.  Students in good standing at the Law School may spend no more than two semesters of study at any foreign institution after successful completion of 19 hours in the Law School.

  1. A proposed course of foreign study must be approved in advance by the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management, and must comply with the ABA Criteria for Accepting Credit for Student Study at a Foreign Institution (the ABA Criteria);
  2. Students may earn no more than 30 credit hours towards the JD degree outside the Law School. This includes credit hours from foreign institutions, other ABA-approved law schools as a visiting student, and graduate-level courses taken outside the Law School;
  3. In order to count credit hours earned under this rule toward the JD degree, students must earn grades of the equivalent of C or higher. Credit hours will be applied towards the JD degree on a pass-fail basis, and grades earned will not be reflected in a student’s GPA or class rank.
  4. Courses taken at a foreign institution may, in appropriate circumstances and with the approval of the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management, satisfy the Perspective Course requirement. They may not satisfy the student’s Upper Division Writing Requirement or other specific graduation requirements of the School of Law;
  5. Credit will be given only for approved academic coursework at foreign institutions, and not for foreign externships;
  6. Ordinarily, foreign courses of study will only be approved at institutions with which the Law School has an existing working relationship.
  7. Student study at foreign institutions must comply with all other rules promulgated from time to time by the Law School administration for purposes of compliance with the ABA Criteria.
  8. All students who wish to apply hours earned abroad to their Law School degree must satisfy all the requirements set forth in Sections 2, 3, or below. In addition, they must contact the University of Louisville International Center, and complete all paperwork and other requirements established by the International Center.
  9. Grades earned in Study Abroad courses will not count toward the student’s Brandeis grade point average or graduation honors.

Study Abroad Through Another Law School

Students may take up to thirty (30) hours at an ABA-approved program of foreign law study. Students may enroll for one or two semesters. Students must obtain permission from the foreign host school; a faculty contact at the host school must be provided; and the curriculum and proposed course of study must be approved by the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management. While international course work is generally elective in nature, the perspective requirement may be met through international course work.

Those courses in which a student receives a C or above will be counted as Pass, and those courses in which a student receives a C- or below will not be awarded credit.

University Exchange Programs

Brandeis School of Law has specially arranged programs with several universities abroad. The Law School has developed relationships with certain foreign law schools. Students who study abroad at these partner schools may qualify for a tuition or other advantage.

  1. Montpellier Law School Exchange – Students’ home institution pays a special host fee of $3,500. Opportunity to obtain European masters in one year. Two Montpellier students can come to Brandeis without charge. We are able to send two students a year without additional fees to the student (Brandeis students pay regular full-time tuition to UofL).
  2. University of Leeds – Student pays tuition to their home university, but is responsible for ancillary costs or fees from the University of Louisville at the same level they would be at the University of Leeds. Students may visit for one or two semesters, but at any one time, there may be no more than two students visiting each campus.
  3. University of Luxembourg – Students may visit for one semester, but there be no more than two students visiting each campus each semester. Exchange students will pay tuition fees and other related fees to their home institution and will be exempt from paying such fees to the host institution. Opportunity to obtain European masters in one year. Some degrees are taught in English.
  4. Queen's University Belfast - Students may visit for one or two semesters, but at any one time, there may be no more than two students visiting each campus. Students will pay tuition fee and ancillary fees to the home university. Visiting students will not be charged tuition fees by the host institution but may be required to (or may elect to) pay ancillary fees at the same level of the host’s own students. Brandeis students must pay full tuition to Queen’s University Belfast to pursue a master’s degree.

Individually-Arranged Study Abroad

Students are also free to arrange for study at non-partner institutions. The Law School intends to allow its students to participate in available educational opportunities at foreign institutions that will enhance the students’ legal education. Students who are interested in pursuing these opportunities must work with the Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment Management to ensure the program complies with the ABA Criteria.

 A full-time faculty member at the Law School familiar with the course of study at the foreign institution must act as sponsor of the student’s foreign study.